Using PR to… Maximise Trade Show Attendance

Trade shows are a great way to get out and meet people. They can offer a fantastic opportunity to meet up with existing customers in one place, but they also offer a chance to introduce yourself to new customers. They also attract the key industry media and so offer the possibility of media interviews and therefore improved media relationships.

As with any PR activity, the first thing you must do is to define what you want the outcome of the activity to be – what do you want to achieve with PR? For the purposes of this post, we are assuming that PR is primarily being used to attract prospects to your stand; with a secondary goal of generating media coverage and improving ongoing media relations.

Big Announcement

News will be at the heart of any PR activity and in this instance a big announcement – a product launch or a new customer – is important to announce at the show.

However, if you want to attract prospects who will be defining the stands they want to visit in advance, you need to make a big announcement ahead of the show. To get the best results you should announce some news that will make every possible prospect of yours realise that they have to visit you at the show.

The exact nature of the news will be particular to you, your industry, and the show you are attending. One tactic that works well though is to say something that could be considered slightly controversial. If you think your industry always does something wrong, now is the time to tell them how to do it right. In this way, you will influence all the conversations that happen around the event.

Media Relations

Big news helps to grab the attention of your prospects, but you would still expect your sales team to book specific meetings. The same is true for your PR team. In the weeks before the event, you need to make sure that you have a dedicated team who are contacting your key media to book meetings and interviews at the show.

Ideally, you will have another piece of news that will be announced at the event that your media relations team can pre-pitch and discuss under embargo to generate interest.

Trained Spokespeople

Once you have set the agenda of the show with your controversial news and have booked interviews with the key media, you need to ensure that your best spokespeople are ready and waiting to talk to them.

The first and most important thing is to make sure that they show up for media interviews. We understand that client meetings are important, but spokespeople should be prepared to block out a few hours of their time that cannot be altered. They also need to be ready and prepared to speak to the media, to know the key media messages (and possible pitfalls) and be comfortable to engage.

 

For trade shows a good media plan can help you to increase your awareness and get more traffic to your stand. But it can also help you to extend media coverage way beyond the show itself and maximise the event for you. And of course, your post-event media follow-up should fit into your wider PR and marketing plan.

 

 


Using PR to… Generate Leads

We all know that PR is a great tool to use, but it is even better when it is focused on a specific business need.

One of – if not the – most important business need is to generate leads and ultimately sales; and PR is a great tool to help you achieve that. We share some tips below on how to structure your PR activities to hit this goal.

Organise

Taking a moment to stop and determine what it is exactly you want to achieve and what the roadblocks might be is vital. As is focusing on who you want to reach and how they will react. This planning will help you to deliver the best possible PR campaign by understanding the news that you want to announce and the publications and markets that you want to reach.

However, you should also organise your time, your news, and your team. To break through with your target audience so that they not only recognise your brand and your benefits but are motivated enough to contact you, requires a consistent effort that needs to be organised in advance.

News

Any PR campaign should be driven by news – announcements telling your market of the great work you are doing.

However, the type of news you announce can have a strong impact on the audience that you will reach and how they will respond. To use PR to generate leads, you need to make sure that your news stories are focused on your industry-leading qualities.

By this, we mean news stories about exciting and game-changing new products, high-profile new clients and about the great results that clients have seen from working with you. Creating as many of these stories as possible during this period will support your goal of generating leads.

Leadership

As well as the news announcing what you are doing as a business, PR can also help you to tell the market what you are thinking as a business. How you see the industry developing and how you intend to drive those changes with your innovation and leadership is a great story to tell.

Bold, strong, possibly controversial statements and predictions – that you can evidence – work well in the media and demonstrate to potential customers that you are out in front in your sector.

Beyond PR

Even the best PR campaign needs support from additional marketing channels. And if you are trying to turn general interest and awareness into a lead, then you need to reach people at multiple times, with multiple different messages and through multiple different channels.

To support the PR activity, you may want to run some advertising in key publications or online sites, draft some case studies to act as sales collateral, or start a podcast project. You could (and possibly should) also run some Google Ads, consider a project to improve your SEO or think about running an ABM campaign.

Response

Finally, to generate leads – and ultimately sales – through a PR campaign you need to give people a reason to get in touch with you now (rather than in twelve months’ time) and make sure you can respond effectively when they do get in touch.

In PR you can’t be as obvious as to give people a direct call to action, but you can talk about a limited offer, a product selling out or maybe a seasonal reason to buy.

And once they do contact you, you need to make sure that your organisation can process the request, track them through the sales cycle and report the eventual sale to a PR win.

We all know that PR works, but sometimes you have to make sure it works for you and that you can track how it is working.